Toni Rajala has become a somewhat overlooked player in the Oilers pipeline. Adding #1 overall picks will do that to a guy.
According to this report (and if google translate likes me) it looks like Rajala plans on coming over to Oilers camp and then seeing how things shake out from there. Rajala is coming off a solid season for Tampere (SM-Liiga) but his NHLE’s since draft day have run in place:
- Age 18 (WHL) 82, 11-15-26
- Age 19 (SML) 82, 9-13-22
- Age 20 (SML) 82, 14-11-25
Rajala is listed at 5.10, 163 on his team page and would seem to be well down any pro depth chart the Oilers plan for 12-13. Wingers who are signed and clearly ahead of him would be Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones, Ben Eager, Teemu Hartikainen, Magnus Paajarvi. Oilers are likely to add Ryan Smyth, could sign Lennart Petrell and might draft Nail Yakupov.
Rajala would probably be a solid candidate for OKC Barons, but is he willing to play the same game as Linus Omark in the hopes Edmonton suddenly finds a 5.10, 163 winger useful?
At a guess I’d suggest Rajala is a long shot for NHL employment. However, that’s the fun in watching these prospects–you never know. Rajala was taken in the 4th round–101 overall–in 2009′s entry draft.